By Ruoro Kairu
A few years ago, you had to mail your application when looking for a job. Then came emails, and all you had to do was visit a cyber café to send your application. Further still, with the spread of the internet, you can now apply for a job through your phone, laptop or tablet, from any location.
The recruitment side has also had technological advancements through time. The most notable change is perhaps the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
Essentially, the ATS helps to manage and sort applicants. When you make an application, the ATS software goes through your CV and decides whether you’re fit for the job or not. While it is not widespread in the country, more employers are turning towards the ATS software.
Having a software go through your CV can help or hurt your application. Since the software has been fed specific instructions on what to look for, if you don’t meet these guidelines, your CV will be rejected.
Then, how do you beat the ATS software? How do you ensure your CV goes through to the employer?
Here are a few tips to help you craft an ATS proof CV.
What are keywords in your CV?
In the job description, the employer has detailed the professional they are looking for. For example, for an accounting position, keywords may include; accountant, auditor, QuickBooks, accounting, and so on.
If you’re a graphic designer, there’s little likelihood your CV will include the above words.
The ATS goes through your CV and searches for the key words and phrases. If you want to beat the ATS software, add words that are relevant to both your profession and the job advertised.
To learn the keywords the software is looking for, look at the job description, most notably the requirements. If your CV has these keywords, the ATS software is likely to accept your CV.
NB: Do not crowd your CV with the keywords, let them appear naturally.
I have noticed most professionals want their CV to stand out. While there’s nothing wrong with this, sometimes, you can go overboard.
As mentioned earlier, the ATS is programmed with specific instructions. To pass the software, use known titles for your CV. Some of the headings to go with include Profile, Skills, Experience, Education, Referees, and so on.
When it comes to the language, use acceptable and common words. Do not go for the jargon as they could significantly reduce your chances.
There are professionals who decide to be creative with the CV. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, however, if you overdo it, the software will reject your CV.
The format you choose should be clean and neat. Use as much text as possible and try to stay away from diagrams, graphs, charts, italics, tables, text boxes, symbols, shading and so on.
Additionally, the font you choose should be a professional one, such as Arial, Tahoma, or Times New Roman.
The font size should either be 11pt or 12 pt.
NB: Most ATS software can’t read or interpret header and footer content, so keep the valuable information in the body of your document.
When listing your roles at a previous company, list the role clearly as well as the full name of the organization.
Do not use abbreviations in your CV. If you must, put the full meaning of the abbreviated word next to the abbreviation. If the employer did not program the ATS to pick up on the abbreviations, your application will be rejected.
Man is to err. When an employer goes through your CV, they could be willing to overlook a spelling or grammatical error. However, when the ATS goes through your CV, if a statement does not make grammatical sense, it will disregard it.
After you’re done writing your CV, go through it. Take some time off after you’re done writing and proofread it after a day or two. Additionally, you can get a fresh set of eyes to review your CV.
Ultimately, it is important to realize the way recruitment is conducted is changing. Unless you change with the times, you could be left applying for jobs without hearing back from the employer.
Do you want to have a professional CV that will get you interviews? Talk to our expert CV writers today.